Edimilson Fernandes: The up-and-coming talent no one is talking about

Harry Burford
Harry Burford
Harry Burford
Contributor

It’s tough to differentiate which of West Ham’s previous summer signings turned out to be the most ineffective when all was said and done last season. Some were truly woeful when played through in front of goal, others seemed completely incapable of drawing pure, palpable excitement from the usually passionate Hammers fanbase – whilst most were severely lacking in terms of any genuine top flight quality whatsoever.

The 2016/17 domestic campaign subsequently developed into a truly forgettable season for the hordes of West Ham supporters who had made the journey away from the traditional and historic Boleyn Ground, over to the much maligned and noticeably soulless realms of London’s Olympic Stadium.

Yet despite the string of horrible results against some of the Premier League’s most serious teams, the numerous counts of in-fighting among the West Ham faithful and the ongoing controversy surrounding Dimitri Payet’s particularly messy departure from the East End of London – it simply wasn’t all doom and gloom for Hammers fans in 2016/17, even among the club’s often criticised transfer department.

Alongside the undoubtedly disappointing likes of Simone Zaza, Gokhan Tore and Jonathan Calleri in the claret & blue last term, Slaven Bilic managed to get his hands upon one young up and coming talent who has seemingly gone largely unnoticed among the rest of the Premier League in its entirety.

“Fernandes is a good, young midfielder. We’ve watched him for a year now. He has good pace, good skill, good talent and he is a good signing for us at a great age.”

Slaven Bilic

21-year-old Edimilson Fernandes may have failed to capture the attention of the wider footballing community in this country after signing for the Hammers for a fee of around £5million last summer, but that doesn’t mean that the young Swiss international isn’t destined for greater things among the English top flight. In fact, most West Ham fans remain quietly confident of what their marauding midfield talent has to offer in the not too distant future.

When it comes to spraying the ball calmly around his midfield with the utmost confidence, attempting to traverse past players within the tightest of spaces and still coming out on top – as well as simply providing his main man in the dugout with a versatile and willing combatant whenever his services are called upon – Edimilson Fernandes has really stepped up to the plate this season, winning West Ham’s well-deserved signing of the season accolade at the end of term awards ceremony.

The former FC Sion midfielder remains impressively confident on the ball whilst offering the rest of his fellow teammates enough attacking foresight to really make things happen inside the final third. He is tall, surprisingly powerful for someone of his stature – and isn’t scared to take on daring long shots from just outside the opposition’s penalty box when the situation calls for it. Not bad for someone who only just turned 21, but a short matter of months ago.

Despite arriving among the English top flight as the younger cousin of ex-Manchester City and Switzerland midfielder Gelson Fernandes, few Premier League onlookers ever expected much from such a young, little known talent who had only previously plied his trade among the Swiss Super League.

Granted the up and coming Hammers star didn’t exactly set the world alight with his supposed prowess in front of goal last season, scoring only one well-taken attempt against Antonio Conte’s Chelsea in the League Cup. But as Fernandes spent most of his debut Premier League campaign operating as a temporary right-wing-back in Slaven Bilic’s makeshift back-line, the 21-year-old was seemingly unable to showcase his natural attacking abilities on a consistent enough basis.

Such an effort hasn’t gone unnoticed within the Swiss national set-up these past few months however, for despite enduring something of a tough collective campaign down at the London Stadium of late, Edimilson Fernandes has successfully managed to implement his way into Vladimir Petkovic’s first-team plans upon the international scene; a truly commendable feat within the grand scheme of things.

Although the 21-year-old midfielder remains far from a standout world-beater at this particularly early stage in his young career, and could well seek to move on from his current employers if he continues to shine among the English top flight over the next few seasons – this is one player West Ham fans remain more than happy to call their own right now, which is something that certainly can’t be said for most of the club’s fellow summer acquisitions.

Watch this space, as they say.

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